Mike Sullivan's fantasies finally came true.
He started Sunday thinking it would take a round from "dreamland" to contend for the title in the $800,000 Independent Insurance Agent Open at The Woodlands, Texas.Sullivan then shot the round of his dreams, coming from seven shots off the pace with a 7-under par 65 for a one-shot victory.
He wouldn't allow himself to think of winning until he reached the 13th green, where he completed a run of five birdies over six holes.
"I thought it would take 10-under par to get back in the tournament when I started this morning and that was like dreamland," Sullivan said. "I thought a round like that would get me in the top five."
Instead, it got him an 8-under-par 280 total and the $144,000 top prize, increasing his career earnings to $1,139,181 and earning him a spot in the Masters Tournament.
"It doesn't feel as good being a millionaire as being the Independent Insurance Agent Open champion," Sullivan said. "You can almost keep the money; it's nice having a trophy for a change."
After shooting the lowest round of the tournament, Sullivan spent an agonizing 90 minutes in the clubhouse while his challengers shot themselves out of contention.
Craig Stadler, who led the tournament after 12 holes at 9-under par, went into the water on No. 13, missed a 2-foot putt on No. 15 and finished second at 281 with a final-round 70.
Seve Ballesteros, who rolled in an 80-foot eagle putt on No. 13, finished two shots back along with Mike Reid and Mike Donald.
Donald, playing his 10th PGA season, led through the first three rounds but again failed to win his first tournament.
"I waited all week for someone to come from behind," Donald said. "I got off to a great start but I hit four bad shots on No. 9."
Despite his problems, Donald birdied No. 13 and was tied for the lead. "I felt great at that point," he said.
But he bogeyed Nos. 14 and 16 to end his challenge.
Sullivan was an unlikely champion. He shot an opening round 76 and was one of 14 players who just made the cut at 147.
At Rancho Mirage, Calif., Juli Inkster, who needed a playoff to win the Dinah Shore five years ago, took a considerably easier route in 1989, cruising to a wire-to-wire victory in the $500,000 LPGA tournament that ended Sunday.
Inkster, who as a tour rookie beat Pat Bradley in a showdown for the title in 1984, this time shot a closing 1-under-par 71 at Mission Hills Country Club to finish five shots in front of LPGA Hall of Famer JoAnne Carner and Tammie Green.
After moving out front with a first-round 66, Inkster had a 69 the second day to take charge, then a third-round 73 that left her five strokes ahead of the nearest challengers.
Although she appeared in command throughout the tournament, Inkster finished with her cards just one stroke better than in 1984 - a 9-under-par 279 this time.
And at Frisco, Texas, Don Bies, who played near-perfect golf for two days, struggled to a 1-over par 73 on windy Sunday, but it was good enough to win the Senior Reunion Pro-Am title by a record six shots.
Bies, the 1988 Seniors PGA Rookie of the Year, earned $45,000 for his first victory of the 1989 season. He almost doubled his winnings for the year, boosting them to $89,612.
Bies started the day 9-under par after rounds of 68-67 but struggled to a 2-over par 38 on the front nine. He came home in 1-under par 35 for a 54-hole total of 8-under par 208.
It was the largest margin of victory in the five-year history of the tournament. Peter Thomson and Don January won by two shots in 1985 and 1986, respectively.
Harold Henning made a mini-charge at Bies, shooting a 2-under par 70 over the testy 7,064-yard Stonebriar Country Club course.